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Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture

Hi folks,
Remember Tutorial 18? (I quote):
"Is there, then, a 'cultural evolutionary psychology' which shows us the other half of the story – the history of how we have creatively adapted our environment to better suit our own needs? Not quite – "

Well there is now!  :  )


INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST ISSUE Why We Need a Journal with the Title Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture

Joseph Carroll

Abstract [Open Access]

"The greatest enterprise of the mind has always been and always will be the attempted linkage of the sciences and humanities. The ongoing fragmentation of knowledge and resulting chaos in philosophy are not reflections of the real world but artifacts of scholarship. . . . Consilience is the key to unification. . . . Its surest test will be its effectiveness in the social sciences and humanities. The strongest appeal of consilience is in the prospect of intellectual adventure and, given even modest success, the value of understanding the human condition with a higher degree of certainty."

—Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998, 8–9)


"Given the recent convergence of evolutionary psychology and human behavioral ecology-sociobiology, one might expect that the next generation of researchers will rapidly untangle all the major mysteries of human behavior and cognition. Unfortunately, I do not think that this will happen quickly. The main reason is that no branch of the evolutionary social sciences has an adequate understanding of human culture. Culture is a product of evolved cognitive mechanisms, but its existence may significantly alter behavioral patterns from those normally expected (from non-cultural organisms), and its emergence has probably uniquely shaped evolved human cognition and emotion."

—Kim Hill , “Evolutionary Biology, Cognitive Adaptations, and Human Culture” (2007, 351)


Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture is designed to make use of an opportunity that has only recently opened up for the social sciences and humanities. These fields now have before them the prospect of a synthesis that would produce, for the first time, a comprehensive and scientifically robust understanding of the human condition. That synthesis would immensely enrich both the humanities and the social sciences. It would ground the humanities on the bedrock of scientific fact, and it would consummate the explanatory potential in the evolutionary social sciences.

During the past four decades, the social sciences and humanities have moved in nearly opposite directions. Beginning in the late 1970s, many disciplines in the humanities began expanding their scope so as to become “cultural studies,” taking in not only some particular subject matter in the arts, philosophy, or history, but also popular culture, ideologies, and features of social identity, such as gender, class, and race. While broadening their scope in this way, scholars in the humanities also aggressively championed the idea that culture is the constitutive force in human life. This primary emphasis on culture brought the humanities into alignment with the main idea that had guided the social sciences through most of the twentieth century, but it also separated the humanities from the most important development in contemporary social science.

The culturalist revolution in the humanities coincided almost exactly with the sociobiological revolution in the social sciences (Chagnon 1968; Wilson 1975, 1978; Chagnon and Irons 1979; Freeman 1983; Crews 1986; Fox 1989; Degler 1991; Tooby and Cosmides 1992; Carroll 1995; Abrams 1997; Culler 1997; Segerstråle 2000; Alcock 2001; Crews 2001; Pinker 2002; Kenrick 2011).

During the same period in which many humanists, like an earlier generation of viii Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture social scientists, were affirming that culture constitutes all of human life, evolutionary social scientists were demonstrating that the human mind and body have evolved complex adaptive structures—anatomical, physiological, and neurological—that impel and constrain human behavior.

Source: Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture
http://journals.academicstudiespress.co … cle/view/9


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